Like so many others who have followed that same dismal trajectory, though, Starr bounced back with a few smaller-label releases and eventually left L.A. for Nashville to record her latest, "The Sound of You & Me." Despite the innate sweetness of her voice, "The Sound" is not a cheery record, as Starr ponders disappointments and failed relationships. She covers that frustration well, lightheartedly singing "Throw a scream into the air/Scream how you can never win" beneath a jangling guitar and a lulling piano line on "Sing It Like a Victim."
Starr doesn't always sound so peppy: Her wails on "Kansas City, Kansas" capture the lyrics' angst, while the mournful strings in "Big Enough" reflect her acceptance of defeat. Often, though, Starr's sugary-sweetness is overwhelming: "Cigarettes and Spearmint" is drenched in tender affection, while "We Were Just Boys and Girls" meanders despite the angelic harmonies of label mate Mindy Smith.
-- Catherine P. Lewis